I remember being 12 years old, and thinking… “I’m fat!” I remember that feeling so well. I wanted thinner thighs!! I wanted my legs to look like my friends legs, which were super skinny and long. Mine were perfectly healthy… but NOT skinny. So, began my 20 year dieting career. I tried everything! Not eating anything… until about lunchtime, sticking my fingers down my throat (YUCK) and beating myself up! None of which worked.
Then I hit my 20’s and moved from Idaho to sunny L.A. where everyone was thin and blonde and pretty. I finally found the answer I was looking for! The LOW FAT Diet! All I had to do was count my fat grams, endure hunger pangs and smoke cigarettes. I finally lost the extra 25 pounds I was carrying around with me throughout my childhood! As I entered my 30’s I found an even better way to keep the weight off. My diet was: Bran flakes with non-fat milk and a banana for breakfast, a salad with non-fat dressing for lunch, a latte and biscotti for a snack, and low-fat wheat thins and wine for dinner! I really had it figured out! I was thin and in control!
In my mid-30’s I started to get severe heartburn every day. I went to the Dr. and he gave me a purple pill. Perfect! I could still drink wine, coffee, stuff my emotions; and my heart burn went away. I remember making fun of one of my co-workers as she read “Natural Cures” And “The Blood Type Diet”. Seriously?! What a sham! I mean, I was perfectly content with my solution to my digestive issues. My heart burn got worse. I went back to the Dr. and he suggested I take two of the purple pills. Okay! I thought… I can do that. When it got worse, I got a stronger purple pill. Soon the food I was eating wasn’t digesting. It just sat there like a rock in my stomach. Then, I started getting scared because I wasn’t getting any better.
When the pain got bad enough, I thought maybe I should go a different route and see a Naturopathic doctor. As she explained how my digestive system worked, I found out that the purple pills were taking away my digestive acid. This was why I wasn’t getting any better! And it was likely that food allergies were the cause of my heartburn. As I worked with her, I learned more and more about how the body works and why mine was probably rebelling! Hello 20 years of abuse! As we searched for the answer to my illness, my health declined. I lost another 15 pounds, and weighed a mere 105 pounds for my 5” 6” frame. I was eating better; more veggies and lean protein, more whole foods and supplements. Why wasn’t I getting better?
Finally I was tested for gluten intolerance, and after the third time, the test came back positive. There are five antibodies your body can create as a result of gluten intolerance, and they can only test for three. (So you can test negative and still be positive.) As I cut out the small amount of wheat I was still consuming, I started recovering. SLOWLY. Oh so slowly. By then my digestive system was totally inflamed and out of balance. Everything I ate was an experiment. Would I be in pain after I ate? Would I get heartburn? I had to be so careful about what I ate it completely stressed me out! I read every book I could get my hands on! I poured over any article on digestive health and building immunity.in the midst I got the best education I could have hoped for. Day by day, month by month, year by year I recovered. During this healing process I learned many lessons:
1. To listen to what my body was telling me; I learned to respect the signs and symptoms my body gave me and to respond accordingly.
2. To stop popping a pill or having a drink or a smoke to distract myself from negative emotions.
3. To feed my body what it needs to be vibrant and healthy. I stopped trying to deprive myself so that I would be a smaller, more acceptable size.
4. I learned which foods to eat to stop cravings and fuel my body for my beautiful life.
5. To live within my own boundaries and respect my limitations and core values.
6. That exercise can be joyful and a part of a whole, healthy lifestyle and not a burden.
7. That a balanced life has to include work, rest, play, and fun!
Most importantly I learned; being smaller does not mean I am more valuable. “Stronger” is better than “Skinny”. And I cannot deprive myself and be happy, but I can love myself into wholeness.